Wondering if your nagging cold is actually an allergy? Or what about your new skin cream that made your hands break out? Distinguishing an allergy from a non-allergic condition is not always a clear-cut task. But knowing the difference can sometimes help you solve what's ailing you, which in turn could mean faster relief.
Mary Fields knows just how difficult pinpointing an allergy can be. The 64-year-old Bronx resident tells WebMD she was convinced her frequent hives were caused by something in...
Taking note of what you come in contact with, what symptoms develop -- and where -- can help you identify and avoid your allergy triggers. It also lets you give your doctor clues about the cause of your allergies.
Perfumes, certain metals, dyes, and latex (rubber) are common causes of an allergic skin reaction called contact dermatitis. Foods and even some medications may trigger hives, which are another form of skin allergy. Hives are itchy and look like swollen red patches or welts on the skin.
Swelling of the deeper skin layers is called angioedema. It can happen along with hives and often affects the eyelids, lips, tongue, hands, and feet.
Review your routine
Have you worn jewelry made of nickel?
Have you used a new hair dye, cosmetic, soap, lotion, or perfume?
Have you worn rubber gloves, or touched rubber toys or balloons?
Have you used any antibiotic medication on your skin? Neomycin, a common ingredient, can cause an allergic skin reaction/condition.
An allergic skin reaction can start right after you touch something. You can also suddenly become allergic to something that has never bothered you before. So, don’t rule out as the trigger something you’ve been using for years.
Also keep in mind that your symptoms may not show up for a day or two after you’re exposed.
Skin allergy symptoms often go away on their own in a week or two, but treatment may make you more comfortable in the meantime.
If you have serious symptoms like trouble breathing or swelling in your throat, they could be signs of a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. Call 911 right away.